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Producing Post Cereal Football Cards

Krakoski vs. Guglielmi, Shofner vs. Nolan and Weber

Why is card #193 Joe Krakoski much more in demand than #158 Ralph Guglielmi when both short print cards were featured on Post Tens and Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz. cards? The same question can be asked of #28 Del Shofner (Raisin Bran 10 oz. and Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz.) in relation to both #25 Dick Nolan and #44 Chuck Weber. The answer is found in the details of the card production process. (Yes, this is well worth the time it will take to go through this page!)

Designing a Post cereal card

In his book "CARDBOARD, CRUNCH, MILK & SCISSORS," Post cereal collector and author Dan Mabey documented the steps that Post company employees undertook to produce baseball cards for the 1961 promotion. Processes included photography, writing biographies, creating artwork used to produce the cards and printing the actual boxes.

Information about the photography of the 1962 Post cereal football promotion is detailed on this website under the Photographer menu. If Post followed the same script as for the 1961 baseball promotion, members of the company's art department were responsible for writing the player biographies. According to "CARDBOARD, CRUNCH, MILK & SCISSORS," card art was handled by Post's art department. Whether this was still true for the 1962 football promotion isn't known, but Traverse-Eddy Graphic Design of Kalamazoo, Michigan was responsible for producing the card art for the 1963 Post and Jell-O baseball promotions. It appears that somewhere along the line Post outsourced the artwork.

1963 Baseball Card Art Example
1963 baseball card art 1963 baseball card art 1963 baseball card art
Lower photo layer Upper biographic layer Overlay


Card art was a literal cut and paste production. A blank white rectangular sheet of cardboard was used as the foundation upon which photographs and parts of the card were pasted using contact cement—the tool of the day. The foundation sheet was about twice as thick as a regular football card and larger than the finished panel. There wasn't a standard size or fixed ratio to the size of the finished card art panel as these pasteboards were of varying dimensions. Cards on the art panels were 3¾" x 5¼" which is 150% longer and wider than the finished card. Player photographs were cut to size and glued in proper position on the foundation pasteboard. A layer of lightweight white card stock was glued on top of the foundation to create the background for cards. and was hinged at the top of the foundation pasteboard with tape so the art department could flip up a layer at a time to make card piece placements, adjustments and notes.

The next layer up was even thinner paper stock that served as the base for the individual card pieces cut from thin paper stock—biography block, post logo, card number in the football, player name, team and position, college, date of birth and current hometown information. Layout lines were drawn to demarcate sides, corners and midpoints. This layer was hinged at the top of the foundation pasteboard with tape so the art department could flip it up to make photo placement adjustments and notes. Card pieces were all pasted in exact position. The back panel header was created and laid in place. Panels for the box front, sides, top and bottom flaps were also created using the cut and paste method with the same 150% scale as on the cards. The back panel artwork could be put in place and the image of a whole flat box had been created. The flat box artwork was then "camera ready" to be photographed. The other back panel artworks for each particular cereal product would be put in place and photographed.

When all of the artwork flat box images for a particular cereal product were photographed, they were sent to the rotogravure shop to create an etched cylinder. The cylinder etching for each cereal product included all of the back panels for that product. Post Toasties 12 oz. press sheetFor instance, there were four 12 oz. Post Toasties flip-out spout back panels. The fronts, sides, tops and bottoms were the same for each of the four boxes. There were seven cards on each of the four back panels for a total of 28. In the photo at right, the top and bottom sides of the roll are the factory cut sides. Factory cut in this case would be defined as the edges that are created when the blank roll of paper is cut to width at the paper factory before it was shipped to Post. Color print marks are seen along the edge closest to the bottom. Shown this way, the paper was being fed moving either to the left or right, so the Post Toasties 12 oz. boxes were printed from the side. When this press sheet was cut from the roll in order to be approved, it was cut from the paper roll on the left and right sides of the picture.

Rotogravure printing

With the cylinder etchings done and back at Post's carton and container plant in Battle Creek, Michigan, boxes were ready to be produced. Etchings on either cylinders or plates mounted on cylinders used acid to create small cells of different depths that held varying amounts of ink. The deeper the cell, the more ink that would be transferred to paper, allowing for color, shadow and highlight variations. A separate cylinder etching would be done for five colors—cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK) and a spot color that correlated to the major color used on the cereal box. The letter K was used for black which was also known as "key." For the 12 oz. Post Toasties press sheet shown here, in addition to CMYK, the spot color was dark yellow as seen on the sides, tops and bottoms of each carton. There was a sixth "color" which was a clear lacquer coat applied last to add a layer of gloss.

The printing process involved large spools of 50,000 feet of paper and up to 43 inches wide being run through the five etched cylinders continuously with one color at a time being transferred to the paper. Rotogravure printing exampleAs each cylinder rotated, it picked up one of the ink colors placed in a well below it and then transferred the ink to the paper on the top side of the cylinder as the roll was pulled forward. The doctor blade ensured that the proper amount of ink was on the cylinder when it reached the paper. Between the individual cylinders of different ink colors, there was a quick drying step before the next color was applied over the previous color. Layers of color on top of each other resulted in different shades as well as shadows and highlights in the photo area. The biography areas used black and magenta ink, the football with the number used yellow and the red Post logo was magenta on top of white paper leaving the name visible by not placing any ink in the spots that formed the word "Post." The paper was spooled back up after receiving the lacquer coat and being sufficiently dried. This whole process took place a rate of approximately 600 feet per minute.

Prior to running tens of thousands of feet of printed boxes on paper, a press sheet as shown above would be taken from the start of the run. Color accuracy and registration would be checked before approval was given to proceed with the run. Proper color registration for the photo area requires each separate color to be placed exactly in position or the photo becomes blurry. Varying degrees of out of register cards are common.

Laminating boxes

The final step in producing cereal boxes consisted of laminating the previously printed paper rolls to cardboard stock and cutting each box to size. Lamination and cutting occurred at a rate of about 60 feet per minute—about one-tenth as fast as printing. The resulting flat boxes would be stacked and later formed and filled with product before shipment to stores. There are many examples of flat Post cereal boxes found within the collecting hobby today.

Double printed products

There are some interesting things to note about box production. As seen above in the press sheet example, all four panels 12 oz. Post Toasties were printed on the same roll, two across and two back as it is termed. Looking at the press sheet photo, across is defined as the width of the paper roll. There was enough width on the roll for the Post Toasties 12 oz. boxes to print two boxes, thus two "across." As the roll was printed moving to the left, at least in the instance of our press sheet example, back panels 2 and 132 would have formed one row and panels 66 and 130 would have formed the second row. The term "back" is basically synonymous with what is normally thought of as a row. These four panels would continue to be printed over and over in this order as the paper was fed to the left and the printing cylinders rotated.

There were various across and back configurations used by Post to transfer the box images from the cylinders to the rolls of paper. Since the rolls were up to 43" wide, Post would be limited in how many box images could be printed across the width of the paper roll. Because each cereal box was a different size depending on the product it was housing, it required different across and back configurations in order to reduce paper waste and increase profit margins. For instance, 8 oz. Alpha-Bits boxes were run as three across and two back (two rows of three boxes), meaning that six boxes at a time were produced with each set of cylinder revolutions. As shown earlier on this website, there were only four different back panels of 8 oz. Alpha-Bits product. This means that two of the panels were double printed and two were single prints, for a total of six (three across times two back).

In over 15,000 collections of data on individual cards identifying cards sold by the cereal and panel they were on, it is clear that the two AB8 panels with cards that occur more often are panels 115 and 124. Panel 115 consists of 115 Stan Jones, 128 Lou Michaels, 143 Dick Moegle, 152 Jimmy Hill, 166 Lamar Lundy and 184 Fran Tarkenton. Panel 124 is star-laden with future Tarzan actor Mike Henry on the first card, Cowboys quarterback and future Monday Night Football analyst Don Meredith on 142, Post cereal promotion stars Jon Arnett (160) and Paul Hornung (6), College All-Star Tommy Mason (178) and Redskins lineman John Paluck on 195. The single print panels were numbers 12 and 22 and featured Bart Starr, Alex Karras, Doug Atkins and R.C. Owens along with eight others. Some of the sales data is skewed by star cards being sold more often than common cards due to the fact that sellers make more money for the same amount of time and effort. However, comparing common cards from all four panels, it is evident that double printing of panels 115 and 124 actually occurred.

In total there were five products that appear to have had two double printed panels—the aforementioned Alpha-Bits 8 oz. boxes, 16 oz. Bran Flakes, 16 oz. Grape Nuts Flakes, 14 oz. Raisin Bran and 10 oz. Sugar Coated Corn Flakes. Technically, 15 oz. Oat Flakes would also have been the same as the SCCF10 boxes since they are duplicated back panels. However, as is covered on another page, Oat Flakes 15 oz. cards don't appear to have been sold in stores as only two panels with no adhesive on the back are known to exist. Also, Crispy Critters 8 oz. panels are a duplicate of Alpha-Bits 8 oz. panels and both would have the same double printed panels, so if one wants to count duplicate products, there are six with double prints.

The chart below is an educated guess at showing how each cereal product may have been printed. Longtime collector and retired Post cereal employee Bill Rothney provided the photo of the Post Toasties 12 oz. press sheet above along with information about the printing process including specifics about a few of the cereals' paper widths and across and back numbers. This provided a base of knowledge from which to work. Measurements of available boxes or panels were taken. Box measurements are close to being exact although the folds prohibit 100% accuracy. Flat box measurements are exact. Dimensions where panels were used to calculate box dimensions are best estimates. These dimensions were calculated based on the actual back panel dimension and correlating that with pixel dimensions from existing digital scans. Based on the extrapolated dimensions, across and back numbers were determined. As explained in the 8 oz. Alpha-Bits explanation about double prints just above, several years of eBay individual card sales data was also factored into the calculation of across and back numbers.

While each "back" number shown in the chart below is 2, please remember that this is a best guess situation and some of the "back" (row) numbers may actually be 1, 3 or even 4. Based on the box dimensions some cylinders would have a small circumference if only one row (back) was etched into the cylinder. Using 48" as the maximum circumference for a cylinders, this allowed for multiple rows. It is assumed that the cylinder circumference had a limit and 48" appears to be about as large as Post would have needed for the box print configurations. As the calculations were being done it became fairly apparent that the majority of the boxes were configured as two back, so it seems logical to believe that Post printed most of the boxes in the same two back fashion. Thus, the chart shows most products with a two back configuration but it should be understood that without definitive information about each cylinder's configuration, this is only a best guess scenario.

The number of rows on each cylinder would affect how many "versions" of each card could possibly exist. Hypothetically, for example, the small 11 oz. Grape Nuts box could have been printed as four across and three back (three rows of four boxes), for a total of 12 boxes with each cylinder revolution. Three rows would have measured 38-1/4" which is less than the assumed 48" maximum cylinder circumference. With only two different back panels, the 12 boxes would have consisted of six of panel 18 and six of panel 74. That would mean there could possibly be as many as six "versions" of each of the four Grape Nuts 11 oz. cards. If, in fact, the number of rows was two, that would result in four "versions" of each card. If only one row was etched into the cylinder, two "versions" of each card resulted.

The possibility of several "versions" of each card from the same cereal product would be of interest to only the most ardent of master set collectors. Identifying each "version" would require, in some cases, a few dozen of the same card from a particular cereal product and a significant investment in time to absolutely define the differences. Cataloging them in a coherent fashion would be yet another matter. Ultimately, a consensus among collectors about how many "versions" of each card exist doesn't seem to have a high degree of likelihood. The purpose of this discussion is to make the collector aware of the reasons why "versions" exist and not necessarily try to document how many of each could possibly exist.

1962 Post Cereal Football
Box Print Layouts
Brand Ounces Box width Box height # Across # Back Paper width Cylinder circumference Print direction # Panels Shelf talker # Double print panels
Post Toasties 18 23-5/8" 16-3/4" 2 2 33-1/2" 47-1/4" Side 2
Post Toasties (Top) 12 20-1/2" 16-1/2" 2 2 33" 41" Side 4 132 (Red)
Post Toasties (Spout) 12 20-1/2" 16-1/2" 2 2 33" 41" Side 4 132 (Red)
Post Toasties 8 18-1/2" 12-1/2" 3 2 37-1/2" 37" Side 3 3 (Red)
Bran Flakes** 16 19-1/4" 13-1/4" 3 2 39-3/4" 38-1/2" Side 4 64, 134
Bran Flakes 11 18-1/8" 11-15/16" 2 4 36-1/4" 47-3/4" Top 4 123 (Blue)
Grape Nuts Flakes** 16 20-7/8" 13-7/8" 3 2 41-5/8" 41-3/4" Side 4 6, 70
Grape Nuts Flakes 12 19" 12-5/8" 3 2 37-7/8" 38" Side 6 200 (Blue)
Top 3 10 19" 12-5/8" 3 2 37-7/8" 38" Side 6 200 (Blue)
Raisin Bran 14 17-1/4" 11-9/16" 3 2 34-11/16" 34-1/2" Side 4 8, 120
Raisin Bran** 10 16-1/8" 10-5/8" 4 2 42-1/2" 32-1/4" Side 4 25 (Yellow)
Post Tens 16-3/8" 5-3/8" 7 2 37-5/8" 32-3/4" Side 7
Alpha-Bits** 13 20-1/4" 15-7/8" 2 2 31-3/4" 40-1/2" Side 4 141 (Yellow)
Crispy Critters 13 20-1/4" 15-7/8" 2 2 31-3/4" 40-1/2" Side 4 141 (Red)
Alpha-Bits 8 17-1/2" 12-1/2" 3 2 37-1/2" 35" Side 4 124 (Yellow) 115, 124
Crispy Critters 8 17-1/2" 12-1/2" 3 2 37-1/2" 35" Side 4 124 (Red)
Alpha-Bits ¾* 8-3/8" 5-7/8" 6 2 35-1/4" 16-3/4" Side 6
Sugar Crisp 14 19" 13-1/2" 3 2 40-1/2" 38" Side 3 55 (Yellow)
Sugar Crisp 9 18-3/16" 11-15/16" 3 2 35-13/16" 36-3/8" Side 3 37 (Yellow)
Sugar Coated Corn Flakes 10 18-1/2" 13-1/4" 3 2 39-3/4" 37" Side 4 15, 54
Rice Krinkles 10 17" 11-1/4" 3 2 33-3/4" 34" Side 6 16 (Blue)
Oat Flakes** 10 17" 11-5/8" 2 2 34" 23-1/4" Top 4 129 (Yellow)
Grape Nuts 11 12-1/2" 8-1/4" 4 2 33" 25" Side 2
Grape Nuts 16 14-5/8" 10" 3 2 30" 29-1/4" Side 3
Print direction: Side = Box height (vertical) dimension across, Top = Box width (horizontal) dimension back
Cards sold data supports AB8, BF16, GNF16, RB14 and SCCF10 double prints.
SCCF10 panels 15 and 54 have been verified to have two versions.
BF11 panel 123 has both a shelf talker and regular bottom so the "back" number has to be greater than one.
*AB¾ Unitas (90) panel could be a double print as twice as many of those AB¾ cards sell as each of the other five, including Hornung.
**Actual box dimensions not available for this box. Panel measurements and scan pixel numbers were used to estimate.


Logic used to make conclusions on across and back configurations

Post Toasties 18 oz. The box width for the two PT18 panel backs exceeds the paper width limit of 43", so the boxes would have been printed with the side of the box first in a left to right paper feed mode. The boxes were nearly 17" tall including the top and bottom flaps, meaning only two would fit across the width of the paper when oriented in a side first fashion. Therefore, the dimensions for PT18 boxes dictate that they were printed two across and up to two back. eBay cards sales data is almost 50-50 between the two back panels, so each panel was printed in the same quantity.

Post Toasties 12 oz. The press sheet above shows that the four PT12 boxes were printed two across and two back for the flip-out spout boxes. The dimensions would have been the same for top flap boxes, so they should have been printed the same way. There was no double printing of the PT12s.

Post Toasties 8 oz. With three back panels and a length of 12-1/2" and only one known shelf talker, three across with a side orientation would be the logical conclusion. The boxes could have been printed up to two back as three back would have been over 50". Again, no double printing occurred.

Bran Flakes 16 oz. BF16 boxes had four different panels and, to date, no shelf talkers have been verified. Logic would say these could have been printed two across and two back. eBay card sales data makes a strong case that panels 64 and 134 were double printed leading to some sort of 3 x 2 layout configuration. With a box height of 13-1/4" and a side orientation, three boxes would fit across the width of the paper. Since panels 64 and 134 were most likely double prints, that would lead to the conclusion that three boxes across and two back was the configuration.

Bran Flakes 11 oz. This product had four back panels and sales data shows that card quantities from each panel are fairly close, so double printing does not seem to have occurred. However, there is both a blue bottom shelf talker and a regular brown flap bottom for panel 123. With the shelf talker and regular bottom panel 123 and one of each of the other three, there were at least five printed BF11 panels. Both the box width and height dimensions are too large to accommodate five boxes across the width of the paper. Thus, at least two back is required. With a box height of 11-15/16", printing four across with a side orientation would be 47-3/4", exceeding the assumed maximum paper width of 43". Three across with a side orientation would be 35-13/16" wide, while printing with a top orientation would allow two across at 36-1/4". Either orientation is possible. A side orientation with three across would require four back in order to equally print each panel for a total of 12 panels, three of each. In this case, panel 123 would have either one blue shelf talker bottom and two brown regular bottoms or two blue shelf talkers and one brown bottom. If the print orientation was top first, the configuration could be two across and four back with two copies of each panel and panel 123 would have one blue and one brown bottom for their two. This configuration seems more likely and so is shown in the chart.

Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz. The same reasoning used to explain the BF16 box print can be applied to the GNF16 print configuration as well. GNF16 box panels 6 and 70 were the double prints.

Grape Nuts Flakes 12 oz./Top 3 10 oz. These two products were double prints of each other. The back panels were the same size, so the print configuration with a height of 12-5/8" and a side orientation would have allowed three across and two back to fill the bill to print all six back panels.

Raisin Bran 14 oz. Same as Bran Flakes 16 oz. and Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz. print configuration explanations. Panels 8 and 120 were double printed.

Raisin Bran 10 oz. Sales data indicates that all four panels were printed in equal numbers. Panel 25 is the only shelf talker and is not known to have a bottom with a regular purple flap. With a side orientation print configuration four panels across was within the maximum width. The width of the box allowed for a one or two back (row(s)) setup. The chart shows two back because that 32-1/4" measurement is more in line with what the other configurations appear to be than a one back configuration which would be only 16-1/8".

Post Tens 9½ oz. Post Tens was a variety pack of 10 single serving boxes, most weighing 1 oz. each. The small boxes were arranged in two rows of five and placed in a tray that folded up on the sides and ends to form a base to hold the 10 single boxes. The tray was printed as a flat and then folded when the individual boxes were added. The whole arrangement was then covered with cellophane. The size of each printed flat tray was 16-3/8" x 5-3/8". Bill Rothney reports that the boxes were printed in a seven across side first configuration totaling 37-5/8", meaning that the dimension of one back row would have been 16-3/8". Two back would measure 32-3/4" and is used in the chart.

Alpha-Bits 13 oz./Crispy Critters 13 oz. These two products had four duplicated back panels with each other. The shelf talker for each cereal was the box of panel 141, with the AB13 box having a yellow bottom flap and (probably) red for the Crispy Critters box. Sales data for the Alpha-Bits boxes shows equal amounts of each panel. Crispy Critters 13 oz. cards are so scarce that sales data is negligible. The box dimensions suggests a side print orientation with two across and two back.

Alpha-Bits 8 oz./Crispy Critters 8 oz. As with the larger size boxes, the four back panels have a matching panel on the other cereal. The shelf talker bottoms were also yellow and red. Sales data for Crispy Critters 8 oz., while of larger volume than the 13 oz. boxes, still is not enough to draw conclusions. Alpha-Bits 8 oz. eBay sales show that panels 115 and 124 were double printed, meaning that two of each of those plus one each of panels 12 and 22 totaled six in the print configuration. Printed with a side first orientation, three across and two back would have been the most likely configuration.

Sugar Crisp 14 oz. There were three different SC14 panels that were printed with a side first orientation so that all three panels would fit across the width of the paper. Panel 55 was a shelf talker with a yellow bottom. It is presently unknown whether SC14 panel 55 was printed on a regular green bottom flap, but it would only have required a two back print configuration to do that. Whether or not panel 55 has two different bottom flaps, the speculation here is that the SC14 print configuration was three across and two back as those dimensions are similar to the other product's print configurations.

Sugar Crisp 9 oz. As with the SC14 panels, there were also three SC9 panels. The box with panel 37 was printed as both a yellow shelf talker and a regular green bottom flap. In order to accomplish that two rows of three boxes printed with a side orientation was needed. Thus, the SC9 print configuration was most likely three across and two back.

Sugar Coated Corn Flakes 10 oz. While there are four different back panels, it is known that panels 15 and 54 were double printed. In order to do this, a total of six panels would have been printed leading to a three across by two back side first orientation. At 13-1/4" from top to bottom and 19-1/8" from one side of the box to the other, three across and two back would have worked well.

Rice Krinkles 10 oz. Six different RK10 back panels lent itself very well to a three across by two back side orientation print configuration. None of the panels are double prints. The box with panel 16 had a blue shelf talker bottom.

Oat Flakes 10 oz. This product has four different back panels on a relatively small box. The width of the box was approximately 17" and the height 11-5/8". Side first printing would require four across at 11-5/8" for a total of 46-1/2", exceeding the 43" paper width limit. Using a top first orientation at 17" makes for a well fitting two across by two back print configuration and this is likely what was used. Box 129 was the shelf talker with a yellow bottom. There were no double prints.

Grape Nuts 11 oz. The smallest panels with only two cards, these were printed four across with a side orientation. There were only two back panels, 18 and 74. Absent a press sheet, the four across could have consisted of two of each panel with one back or four of one panel on the first row across and four across of the other panel on the second row back. Various panel configurations are possible, but it seems likely that it was four across and either one or two back.

Grape Nuts 16 oz. Another rather small back panel, these boxes had three cards. There were three separate back panels. The dimensions point to a three across, two back side orientation print configuration. There are no known shelf talkers and sales data doesn't indicate double printing of any of the panels.

Shelf Talkers

Collector and avid Post cereal researcher, Dave Worley, notes that boxes with advertising text "FREE on back panel FOOTBALL trading cards" were known as "shelf talkers." Shown below are 8 oz. Alpha-Bits back panels with the bottom flap attached. The blue flap was the regular bottom flap color and the yellow flap was the shelf talker. The purpose of the bottom flap color difference on the shelf talker box was that it drew attention to that box when placed either flat or on its side with the bottom flap exposed. It highlighted the fact that there were football cards on the back of the boxes in this group. As previously discussed on this page, there were four different 8 oz. Alpha-Bits back panels, but six were printed each time the cylinder made one revolution. As mentioned above, this means that there are single prints of panels 12 and 22 and double prints of panels 115 and 124. Essentially, the amount of #12 Bart Starr cards produced was half that of #115 Stan Jones as well as all the corresponding cards on the double printed Alpha-Bits 8 oz. panels. This means there was one etched image of panels 12 and 22 and two etched images of panels 115 and 124. There are no two etched images exactly alike. Although the photo cropping will be exactly the same, there will be some minute variations such as blue, red or black dots appearing on one card and not the other. There is a difficulty with identification in that registry issues will sometimes disguise the telltale print marks. It is also usually the case that coloring will be slightly different on the panels with the same cards on the back as is the case with the two panels shown here. Take a look at the cards on the same panels with two different bottom flaps. The colors are slightly different. Was it because of the bottom flap color or simply because of ink intensity differences when the ink wells were refilled? Or because the etched images are distinct? There are quite a few individual cut cards available for viewing with these color variations. It would appear it is possible to separate the differences of the two. Was this 100% consistent so that we can definitively label a card as coming from the blue or yellow bottom flapped box? Maybe the best approach might be to wait and see if enough shelf talker boxes are found to make a statement of reasonable certainty. Only back panel 124 has been seen with the yellow shelf talker bottom although panel 115 was also double printed. Enough examples of boxes with bottom flaps to make reasonable statements of certainty may happen in the future. Master set collectors might want to hang on to cards with color variations until those reasonable statements of certainty can be made.

Alpha-Bits 8 oz. Boxes — Bottom Flap Variations
Alpha-Bits 8 oz. blue flap Alpha-Bits 8 oz. yellow flap

 

The Alpha-Bits 8 oz. boxes are not the only ones with shelf talker and regular bottoms on boxes with the same panel. One back panel of each 11 oz. Bran Flakes and 9 oz. Sugar Crisp was also printed this way. While the blue flap on the Bran Flakes 11 oz. shelf talker shows only a sliver here, it is apparent.

Shelf Talkers
Sugar Crisp 9 oz. yellow flap Bran Flakes 11 oz. blue flap


Alpha-Bits 8 oz., Sugar Crisp 9 oz. and 11 oz. Bran Flakes are the only three products that have been found with the same panel on regular and shelf talker boxes. Studying the chart above, it would not be difficult to believe that other cereals such as 8 oz. Post Toasties, 10 oz. Raisin Bran, 13 oz. Alpha-Bits and Crispy Critters, 8 oz. Crispy Critters and 14 oz. Sugar Crisp may also have a shelf talker and a regular bottom flap box. Sugar Crisp 14 oz. boxes with panel 55 show a yellow bottom flap shelf talker. It is logical that SC14 boxes were printed three across and two back rather than only one back since most of the documented products had at least two back rows. Looking at #55 Jim Martin, master set collectors are aware of two versions—one with no eye pupils and another with a simple tiny dot for each pupil. If a green bottom #55 box is found, that would confirm a three across and two back configuration, meaning that it would be a good bet that one of the #55 Jim Martin cards had no eye pupils and the other did. If those boxes were printed one across, it would seem to indicate that somewhere along the way the printing process was stopped and a correction to Martin's eyeballs was made on the fly. Two across with two versions seems more likely considering cards like #32 Maxie Baughan's SC14 (among others) have two consistently distinct card color variations.

Individual serving Alpha-Bits ¾ oz. boxes are another case where at least two back rows seem to be in order—maybe more since they were printed from the side and one back row would have been only 8-3/8" deep. As many as four back rows seems feasible. In addition, although there were six different AB¾ back panels, #90 Johnny Unitas may have been a double print. Sales numbers indicate nearly twice as many Unitas AB¾ cards exist as each of the other five. This may be due to Unitas' popularity resulting in more of those cards being saved and later sold because they bring a good price. But it should be noted that #6 Paul Hornung was also a popular player on a highly collected Packers team and a spokesman for the Post football promotion and the sales volume for Hornung's AB¾ cards are in line with the four players other than Unitas. If Unitas is a double print, the AB¾ boxes were printed seven across.

Maybe we will see examples of more boxes with shelf talker and regular flap bottoms in the near future. There is a lot of good stuff yet to be figured out.

Are we there yet?

Back to the original question at the top of this page—why are some cards that are on the same short print boxes scarcer than others on the same two boxes? The answer is the double prints for some of the back panels that came about as a result of Post's assignment of panels for each cereal product's rotogravure cylinders. It is interesting that, for the most part, the card market has traditionally shown this for decades. Examples of cards that are paired on like products demonstrate the value of single printing versus double printing: #145 Jerry Tubbs (SP) versus Tom Brookshier (DP) on Sugar Coated Corn Flakes 10 oz., SP Larry Morris against DP Frank Clarke, and SP Joe Krakoski matched with DP Ralph Guglielmi, and our trio of SP #28 Del Shofner lined up with DPs #25 Dick Nolan and #44 Chuck Weber all on 16 oz. Grape Nuts Flakes. Supply and demand laws have regulated prices even though collectors may not have recognized the root cause. There really was a reasonable explanation all along.